Ah, summer, it seems like it flew by in a swirl of swimming, hiking, body surfing and laying out on the beach with a good book.
Well, now that the kids are hitting the books in school, you have time to repair some of the damage you may have unwittingly sustained during the last few months of beach trips, road trips and trips to the pool.
Our family did the Camino de Santiago, a six-week, 500-mile backpacking trip across northern Spain.
Along the way, we picked up some sneaky little hitchhikers.
I found what I suspected to be a bed bug www.pestnet.com/bed-bugs/ crawling on my backpack in one of the hostels.
People - things got way too real way too fast. That sucker and all his little buddies were the real disgusting deal.
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Despite our best efforts to avoid them by shaking out our clothes, bedding and backpacks, they still managed to climb into bed with us and suck our blood all night long.
Once, I woke in the middle of the night because I felt one crawling on my arm.
I couldn't turn on my flashlight for fear of waking the other 30 hikers in the room, so I grabbed the bug and squished it against the bunk bed frame to kill it.
In the morning, there was a splat of blood and some tiny legs - pretty revolting.
For bites on the face from bed bugs or mosquitoes, use a cover-up that is slightly darker than your skin or foundation, just on the bite itself, and blend the edges.
Darker concealers hide blemishes, while light-colored concealers draw attention to them. It's just like choosing thread a shade darker than the fabric, which makes it disappear into the fabric, whereas thread in a lighter shade stands out.
To help with the mad, crazy itching, try using straight white vinegar applied to bites with a cotton swab, take an oral antihistamine and dab the bites with Polysporin.
(For mosquito bites, use the same treatment.)
Try your best not to scratch, infected bites swell up and become even more unsightly. They also can lead to blood poisoning. That happened to my little sister.
After hiking for six weeks, we felt like we earned some beach bum time.
Even though we were very vigilant about applying and reapplying sunscreen, wearing hats when out of the water and spending time in the shade, we all ended up with varying degrees of sunburn anyway.
I found that slathering on some aloe vera a few times a day, as well as applying a cold, damp washcloth to soothe hot skin, made the sunburns bearable.
These were the best forms of relief while waiting for our skin to heal.
If possible, buy aloe vera without alcohol because alcohol will dry out already damaged skin.
After-sun lotions or regular lotion might delay peeling a little, but tend to trap the pain and heat of sunburn rather than alleviate it.
The coast of Spain this summer was completely plagued by jellyfish.
On our last trip, there were so many that no one could go into the water without getting multiple stings.
People were catching them in nets and burying them in the sand.
The shore was shiny with washed-up jellyfish. One couple caught 200 jellyfish in a single day.
The sting of a jellyfish can feel as minor as a mosquito bite or as major as the sting of a wasp.
The Spanish method for taking the pain away is to mix seawater and vinegar on a paper towel and then hold the paper towel over the sting for 20 minutes.
I escaped with baby jellyfish stings, but my son, however, was stung on his ankle and it reddened and swelled up.
We tried the Spanish remedy and he was ready to go back in the water fairly quickly.
Spending so much time in the ultra-chlorinated water of our apartment's pool in Granada, as well as in the ocean and out in the sun made my already slightly coarse, curly hair more like steel wool than the shiny ringlets I usually enjoy.
To combat the beating my hair took from overexposure to sun and water, I mashed up an avocado and spread it on wet hair, combing it through with my fingers and left it on for half an hour. Then I squeezed it into a bowl and made it into guacamole - just kidding, that would be gross!
I washed it out with shampoo and my hair recovered some luster and softness.
I'm a brunette, but if you're a blonde who loves the pool so much that you've inadvertently dyed your hair green with chlorine, try rinsing your hair with straight lemon juice or white vinegar.
As a preventive measure, wet your hair before you get in the pool and-or put a little conditioner in it to try and block the chlorine from clinging to your strands.
When you get out of the pool, rinse your hair with water or club soda if you can't wash it with shampoo right away.
A little sea water is a beautiful thing for straight-haired or wavy-haired girls who want great texture and can't afford Bumble and Bumble's Surf Spray. Next time you're at the beach, take an empty spray bottle and fill it up in the ocean.
Don't you just love a freebie? A bit of salt water gives great texture and volume to hair. Spritz damp hair and scrunch it with your fingers.
Diffuse your hair with hair dryer upside down and voila, sexy, windswept beach hair any time of year.
Next up: choosing the perfect Halloween costume.
McKinney may be reached at diystyle@ sungazette.com.
Her column is published on the second Friday of each month as part of the Lifestyle section's "Fashion Friday" features.